One of the hallmarks of the modern conspiracy theory movement is that the powers that be (the deep state, the New World Order, the cabal, or whatever we’re calling it this week) use training exercises as cover for actual operations against the people they control.
We’ve seen everything from 9/11 to the Sandy Hook shooting to the Boston Marathon bombing labeled a false flag drill that “went live” under the cover of training – giving the plotters the perfect cover to carry out their plans for consolidating power and rolling back our rights. Or something.
The US military runs drills and exercises constantly. Most are totally unremarkable and pass without anyone even knowing about them. But the rise of a complex ecosystem of conspiracy theory social media, along with everyone having a full media suite in their pocket, has turned these exercises into flights of paranoid fancy – potential “go live” situations for false flags happening right in front of our sleeping faces.
Remember Jade Helm 15, when the military was set to take over the southwest with death domes and Russian troops on the streets, only to do nothing of the sort? Such a scenario played out again over the last week in Los Angeles and Long Beach, as military helicopters, special forces, orbiting Navy electronic warfare planes, and fast-roping commandos breaching buildings took over normally sleepy downtown sites for an exercise.
Was it just mere training? Or was it another exercise acting as cover for something far more nefarious? Media sites and conspiracy theorists definitely decided it was the latter, writing stories touting:
- “Simulated invasion” featuring that old-school paranoid set favorite “black helicopters.”
- “Los Angeles under attack? City sent into panic by military exercise.”
- “Unexpected war drill.“
- “Black helicopters swarm Los Angeles in surprise urban warfare drill.”
- “Explosions and military choppers freak people out in Downtown Los Angeles.”
And on and on it went. Countless stores on conspiracy sites, Russian propaganda networks, and mainstream media alike made references to dozens of Black Hawk and Night Stalker helicopters, explosions and loud booms, terrified residents, and the grand scale of whatever was going on.
Naturally, QAnon believers got in on the frenzy, speculating that maybe this was the moment the actual arrests, long predicted but never actually happening, were actually happening. It was catnip for a movement full of wannabe warrior boomers, and there was great speculation that these were nothing like regular military exercises, that the buildings the troops were training on had special significance (one was the Guatemalan House of Culture, people!), and that high-value targets were being extracted under fire.
And then, the exercises ended, and downtown LA went back to its normal routine of homeless encampments, hip bars, and endless condo building.
So what the hell happened? Were these choppers and Special Forces guys really breaching some deep state stronghold and bringing the cabal to justice?
Well, we don’t know for sure, since the military doesn’t disclose exactly what’s done during these training sessions (doing so would kind of defeat the purpose) and who was involved. But there are a few things that we do know, things that add helpful context to the conspiracy theories, and make the admittedly unnerving explosions and chopper landings more plausible as a mere exercise.
These things happen a lot – even in downtown LA: It’s so common that LA has been the site of several other urban warfare exercises. In 2015, residents of South LA were dazzled (or maybe annoyed) by several nights of aircraft flyovers and missile launches. And in 2012, the LAPD and Special Forces combined for a joint exercise practicing much of the same stuff they practiced in 2019.
Conspiracy theorists love to pretend that these exercises are meant to condition Americans to the sight of troops on the streets and military control of cities, but it was clear after the disaster of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, US special forces had to re-think their urban warfare doctrine. Hence, training in dense urban centers to fight a “three block war.”
Downtown LA is a perfect place to train: the office block areas of Downtown LA and Long Beach almost entirely empty out at night. In particular, the areas around the Staples Center and the intersection of Wilshire and Lucas don’t have apartment complexes or condo units next to them. A small building with no residents in or around it is a great place to pretend to extract an enemy. There’s no reason anyone would be in them at night, and they can easily be cleaned up and returned to normal use.
None of this was secret: The type of urban extraction scenarios being practiced in LA this week require a pretty extensive amount of paperwork, permitting, and notification of residents. In fact, people living around the areas where the exercises took place were told by the Army that there would be helicopters landing and weapons fired, being told to look out for “sounds associated with the training, including aircraft and weapon simulations.”
If this had been some actual high-value target being taken out of LA, why on earth would people living around the site be told about it? So they could blather on Twitter that cool helicopters would be blowing stuff up around them? So the target could escape? Such poor information control leads to dead special forces operators and blown operations – just the kind of thing these exercises are trying to prevent.
Of course, none of this explains what exactly these guys were training to do? Was it practice for snatching rogue Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro? Grabbing Kim Jong Un? Arresting some other asset that nobody knows anything about?
We have no idea. And the Army isn’t going to tip its hand. But if they do need to do one of those things, or something else, aren’t we glad they’ve prepared for it in a realistic environment? Don’t we want our troops to come home unscathed from a successful mission?
It feels like we should.